Gallstones can be painful. It is rare for people to know that they have these until their bile ducts get clogged. Most are cholesterol stones and the rest are pigment stones. The risk factors include genes, gender, age, weight, diet, gallbladder issues, high cholesterol, and bile flow problems. Liver and blood diseases can also increase the likelihood of forming stones. The same is true for people who have diabetes or are pregnant. The use of birth control pills and hormone replacement therapy can increase estrogen which, in turn, can increase cholesterol in the body.
Although gallstones can be excruciating, a large percentage of the people who experience pain because of them will never do so again. Recurrences are rare and so it may not even be necessary to perform an intervention. During the initial stages, doctors are likely to recommend watchful waiting. The stones can eventually dissolve and get dislodged from the bile ducts on their own. After this, they will continue to exist in silence without bothering the patient. Repeated episodes can be more of a concern, but these have to be weighed in relation to other factors that may prohibit surgery at the moment.
When gallstone surgery North Shore cannot be an option, doctors will find other ways to solve the problem. Non-invasive techniques include dissolution using bile salt, shockwave therapy, and endoscopy. The first one is suitable only for stones formed by cholesterol. A drug can be taken to produce the effect but the process can take months or years. Shock wave tends to act faster because of the brute force approach. High-frequency sound can break the stones into small fragments which can then be dissolved more easily. Lastly, endoscopes can be used to find the stones while an instrument removes each piece.
If there are no impediments, then doctors might suggest the surgical removal of the gallbladder itself. This is the best solution to persistent stone issues and is quite common in the US. It is a non-essential organ so people can still live a normal life without it. The bile will then flow from the liver to the small intestine. The downside is that it can cause diarrhea. It will also affect the body’s ability to break down fat, so a change in diet will be necessary.
Patients should find a gallstone surgery North Shore specialist that can minimize incision and hasten recovery.